GAINESVILLE, Ga. — The family-owned Gainesville business Georgia Chair plans to close after 102 years of building wooden furniture for homes and schools, company officials said.
Gainesville Chair has produced furniture primarily for school systems throughout the United States, The Times reported (http://bit.ly/2bKcMSb).
But the recession of 2008-09 meant schools were spending less on furniture, officials said. Also, many school systems have also shifted to cheaper plastic furniture since the recession, The Times reported.
The company never fully recovered from the rough economic conditions brought on by the recession, Gainesville Chair President Harry Bagwell said.
“We realize 2008’s economy was just worse than we thought it would be,” Bagwell said. “We thought we had a good recovery plan, and we worked on it pretty hard. We were going along really well with it, but some of the things we thought we could do, in the end, didn’t pan out as well as we hoped.”
As schools have struggled to recover from the recession, they’ve spent less on capital improvements and many have focused their efforts on putting teachers back in the classrooms, Bagwell said.
During the company’s more than a century in business, its employees watched seven wars, seven stock market crashes, 16 recessions and two depressions, The Times reported.
It was founded by the Bagwell and Edmondson families. The Bagwells have continued to operate it to date.
In a news release, Bagwell said he was unwilling to compromise quality and “make a shoddy product” instead.
The company has been in the process of discontinuing operations for several months and will close officially by the end of September, the Times reported.
“I’ve enjoyed doing what I’ve been doing,” Bagwell said. “This community has been very supportive of us.”
“There’s a group of community business leaders who have helped me through the last few months, trying to give me some direction as we’ve worked through this,” he added. “They’ve been invaluable, and we’re so appreciative of the community as a whole for its support.”